Kickin’ it old school: Resilience—the ultimate life tool

Routine can be a student’s best friend when trying to balance the heavy load of academics and the responsibilities of real life. Getting a consistent rhythm going can ensure that everything gets done on time and can help minimize stress. But what happens when things don’t go quite as planned?

We’ve all had those days, where we woke up and realized we either forgot to buy coffee the night before, the straightener broke, or we missed the bus. Those unimportant little things can sometimes play a big role and put a serious kink in our day. They may even start a chain reaction of unfortunate events, which leave us eagerly anticipating bedtime, just to end the day.

What if the things that disrupt our lives aren’t so little though? It could be that you just discovered, after two failed exams, that you’re not so great at math. This creates a bit of a problem, since you happen to be a Physics major. Maybe the news that you’re expecting a baby, when you didn’t exactly plan for it, leaves you wondering if you’ll still be in university when your kid gets there. Or that party last weekend left you with an eviction notice tacked to your door. Whatever the issue, big or small, ultimately they’re all called “life.”

Let’s face it, shit happens, and it happens on a regular basis. In life, it’s not the problem that’s the problem, it’s your attitude about the problem. This is where the concept of resilience comes in. Resiliency is all about change and one’s ability to adapt to hiccups in their environment. We’ve all heard of people, or maybe we are one of those people, that like things to stay the same. Not big fans of change. There’s a problem with this comfort zone, and it brings us back to my earlier statement—Shit Happens.

In order to squeegee it off and continue on the path of success, you must learn to grieve your loss without getting trapped in the hamster wheel of “this isn’t the way it’s supposed to be.” Once you finish grieving, you then start to make a new plan and move forward. Maybe further down the road things get tweaked and amended a little more.

Being resilient is not about constantly changing, it’s about having the ability to change and adjust when necessary. If you happen to be one of those people with the lucky horseshoe shoved way up an unmentionable cavity, then by all means stop reading now. But for the other 99.9 per cent of us, it’s important to understand that when something goes wrong, there is no benefit of having a pity party for one over extended periods of time.

Continuing to hold on to something that’s just not going to happen, either in the short term or long term, can cause copious amounts of unneeded frustration. Maybe it’s as simple as finding another way to accomplish your goal, or maybe it’s accepting that it might not be something that is going to work for you, possibly ever. Part of being an adult is understanding that we are not all five-year-olds playing baseball; not everyone gets a trophy.

Another part of resiliency is perseverance. If you want something enough, you can have it. You can be successful in life, if you keep focused on your long-term goals. But long-term goals and a person’s definition of success should be flexible and not cast in concrete. Why? Because shit happens, and sometimes we need to adjust.

If your loving relationship didn’t work out, then by all means grieve it. Cry, pout, scream, and even send a few blubbering drunk texts. But then wash your face, put on a clean shirt, and move on. Persevere and get back out there and use your energy to find someone that it will work out with, instead of using your energy to mope over someone who doesn’t want you.

Whether it is a small problem or big problem, it doesn’t matter. The key is to adjust and adapt, then move forward. It’s as simple as keeping in mind that success happens to those who keep trying, regardless of how many hiccups or failures they leave in their wake.

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